Top 5 of 2015

As we ring in another new year, I thought to look back on the passing year with a post of my favorite recipes of 2015, that I know I’ll be coming back to.

Enjoy, and Happy New Year! See you all in 2016 😀

 

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Lemon Zucchini Bread – delicious and easy quick bread with lemony zing

 

 

 

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Pop Quiz – all you need to know about popcorn and making it from scratch

 

 

 

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Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies – a hit with your non-dairy, gluten-free, and omnivore friends alike

 

 

 

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White (Chocolate) Drizzled Lavender Shortbread – attractive and attainable party goals

 

 

 

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Dad’s Mango Bread – a new family recipe that’s always a good idea

 

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White (Chocolate) Drizzled Lavender Shortbread


My friend Rebecca requested a baked good for her recital reception that included lavender and white chocolate. Apparently, this is a fairly common combination. I still have a large amount of lavender from France in the pantry, so I was eager to find a winning recipe. But after much searching, I concluded that the best/least messy/most portable way to go was with shortbread. I made lavender shortbread before, for Christmas, but I wasn’t perfectly satisfied with the recipe…well there’s no time like the present for fixing!


Butter + sugar

+ lavender + salt

+flour


+ heat



I made them very cute-sized so many people could try at the reception, and drizzled Ghirardelli “Classic White Chips” over them. Nope, no chocolate! Don’t get it twisted though: to be classified as white chocolate, a confection must contain at least 20% cocoa butter. I guess Ghirardelli didn’t even bother with that, just sugar, oil, milk, soy, and vanilla. Interesting…enjoy to your liking!



White Chocolate Drizzled Lavender Shortbread
Makes 30 medium cookies

1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cooking lavender, ground
2 cups flour
1 cup white chocolate chips

Combine butter and sugar with an electric mixer and set aside. Use a mortar and pestle or food processor to grind up the dried lavender. Add this with the salt to the butter and sugar. Gradually mix in the flour.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough to around 1/4 inch in thickness and press out cookies with a cookie/biscuit cutter of your preferred size. Roll up leftover dough and repeat. Place on baking sheets and bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes, or until edges are slightly browned.

At half power, microwave the chips in a bowl in 30 second intervals. When fully melted, place in a sandwich bag with a corner cut out. Drizzle quickly over lined-up shortbread ~ this may take a few tries but you’ll get the hang of it! The chocolate (or white) will make it on somehow.


Christmas Cookies: Insta-dition

     Happy New Year! I hope dieting was not on your list of resolutions this year, because there are cookies coming your way. Many cookies! They’re all excellent. Since I was running around with flour hands for two days, I thought it best to stick to my phone for the majority of Christmas’s photo-documentation. As a result, I have created a fun photo/recipe link post à la Instagram. Though none of these photos has seen Instagram as of this moment, I edited these 12 photos on my phone as if they were going to be grammed. With minimal staging, and no further ado, I present the 2k14 Christmas cookies, in square format.

      First up: ginger molasses cookies! Or molasses spice, or gingersnaps. I go with the first because I make sure these come out nice and soft so they fall apart in your mouth/hand if you’re not careful. These are particularly great in the getting cold/freezing seasons, but make what you want, when you want. Recipe from Smitten Kitchen here.

      Round two: chocolate chunk cookies! Folks, I’ve been working hard at the next best recipe for these things. So many variables, so many tests, so many possibilities! I’ll give you a hint while I finalize the next post: brown butter, light folding. Vanilla beans don’t hurt, either. In the meantime, find out about all things chocolate in your chocolate chunk cookie here.

     This year’s MVC: the Citrus Snickerdoodle. Introduced to me by my friend Adriel, these cookies throw you for a loop, then make you question your relationship with snickerdoodles altogether. I asked for the recipe he used, but he geniusly made it himself – here’s what he wrote out for me:

Faux Citrus Snickerdoodles
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. butter, softened
2 eggs, room temperature
2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)
1 T. freshly squeezed orange juice (optional)

1/4 c. sugar, set aside
approx. 1 T. ground cinnamon, set aside

1) Preheat oven to 400°F.
2) Cream sugar, butter, eggs, & juices if using. Add flour, baking powder, salt, & zests.
3) Shape dough by scant tablespoonfuls into balls; roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture.
4) Place 2 in. apart on ungreased (dark) cookie sheet.
5) Bake until set, golden & slightly crisp, about 8 minutes. Cool cookies immediately on wire rack.

Yield: 3-4 dozen cookies

Do make sure to chill this dough for a bit; it will make it a lot easier to work with.

     Winner of best wrap-up to 2014 goes to the lavender shortbread. You see, I brought back the lavender from my stay in France for the first half of the year (memories/mishaps found here), and tried my first lavender shortbread in San Francisco, where I spent the middle of the year. But I still have a whole bag of the stuff (taking suggestions now). Here’s the recipe that I doubled, with too much butter here. Will most likely have an updated recipe later because these were frachement excellents.

     No I did not arrange the sink like this, nor did I plan on taking a photo of it, but I thought it looked kinda cool so, here you go. Dishes.

Here’s to finding the mathematical equation for eating many baked goods while staying extremely fit, right? Happy New Year!